Dr Amrita Narlikar, Director of the Centre for Rising Powers, and Dr Aruna Narlikar have published a new book, 'Bargaining with a Rising India. Lessons from the Mahabharata', now available at Oxford University Press.
The need to negotiate effectively with India is only growing as its power rises. Understanding the negotiating culture wherein India's bargaining behaviour is embedded forms a crucial step to facilitate this process. In the literature on international negotiation, experimental studies point to specific behavioural characteristics of Indian negotiators. Empirical analyses confirm these findings, and many suggest that the sources of India's negotiation behaviour are deep-rooted and culture-specific, going beyond what standard explanations of interest group politics, partisan politics, or institutional politics would suggest. But there are very few works that trace these sources. Extensive sociological and anthropological, and comparative political studies remain confined to their own fields, and do not develop their implications for Indian foreign policy or negotiation. There is a conspicuous lack of works that attempt to unpack the "negotiating culture" variable using literary sources. This book aims to fill both these gaps. It focuses on India's negotiating traditions through the lens of the classical Sanskrit text, the Mahabharata, and investigates the continuities and changes in India's negotiation behaviour as a rising power.
"All of us outside India need better understandings of its policies and their drivers. This rare, creative book helps by viewing the classical Sanskrit epic partly through lenses from recent negotiation analysis. A corrective to western-centric scholarship, the book makes a remarkably original contribution to the tradition that traces negotiation behavior to national cultures. The authors lessons are relevant for todays international negotiations." - John Odell, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Southern California
"National cultures and international bargaining behavior are too often linked using stereotypes and anecdotes. Narlikar and Narlikar offer for the first time a comprehensive and convincing view of the traditional negotiating culture of one rising power, India, and the effects of that culture on contemporary international negotiations" - Miles Kahler, University of California, San Diego
"This study fills a major gap both for scholars and for policymakers by placing Indian diplomacy in a cultural context and provides a new understanding of how Indias classical traditions continue to influence Indias bargaining positions and negotiating strategies." - Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House